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PM presents Porirua teacher with inaugural music award

The inaugural Tui award for Music Teacher of the Year was presented last night to Porirua teacher Elizabeth Sneyd at the third annual Artisan Awards, alongside awards for producer, engineer, music video and album cover.

The awards for behind-the-scenes achievers are part of the annual Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards, and were held at Massey University’s School of Music and Creative Media Production. It was the first time the Artisan Awards have been presented in Wellington, the result of successful lobbying by Massey University staff to Recorded Music New Zealand CEO Damian Vaughan.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern presented the first award of the evening to Elizabeth Sneyd, who founded the Virtuoso Strings Charitable Trust in 2013 and has provided free music programmes to over 200 young people in the East Porirua community ever since.

In her presentation speech, the Prime Minister spoke of the importance of teachers, and how she invited her high school history teacher to her inauguration ceremony in recognition of how teachers change lives.

Andre Ktori, Head of Massey’s School of Music and Creative Media Production said: “As a university, we value the role great music teachers have in the careers of talented young people. The inaugural award recognising Music Teachers is fantastic! It’s an incredible honour to acknowledge the talented artisans in the music industry tonight.We’re so proud to support these awards.”

The specialist judging panel said in their notes: “It was a great privilege to be given the chance to look into the working world of three incredibly talented and hard-working music teachers. While all three teachers worked in quite different contexts their belief in music as a positive change-agent in young peoples’ lives was the common factor driving them all. It was an extremely hard job to pick a winner as all three finalists are clearly already winners in their communities. What was significant about the Elizabeth Sneyd was the evolution of the programme ‘from scratch’, her commitment to ensuring the programme will last well beyond her involvement, and her well-articulated vision for music to enable a more socially just and inclusive Aotearoa.”

The short and snappy Artisan Awards ceremony was held in the main recording studio of Massey’s School of Music, and compered in delightfully droll style by “officers” Mike Minogue and Karen O’Leary, stars of the mockumentary television series Wellington Paranormal.

Entertainment was provided by The Adults, featuring singer and percussionist Estère (a finalist for Best Producer), and Shihad frontman Jon Toogood, who has just completed his MFA at Massey.

Toogood was back on stage later the evening to read a message from Shihad bandmate Tom Larkin, who along with Simon Gooding and Hammerhead, received the Tui for Best Producer for their work on the debut album by Te Reo metallers Alien Weaponry.

Hammerhead (aka Niel de Jong), also manages the Waipu trio, which features his teenage sons Lewis (lead singer, guitar) and Henry (drums) alongside bassist Ethan Trembath, and won the international achievement prize at the NZ Music Managers Awards earlier this year.

Niel and Jette de Jong

During his acceptance speech last night he thanked his wife Jette, who had also travelled south for the awards, and acts as tour manager for the band.

Alien Weaponry will kick off the main Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards televised ceremony next week, bringing their thrashing Te Reo into unsuspecting living rooms across the country.

co-producer Simon Gooding was also joint winner with Jordan Stone of the Tui for Best Engineer for their work on Neil Finn’s fourth solo album Out of Silence.

Best Music Video went to Marlon Williams (above) for the video he created for his 2017 single ‘Vampire Again’. Williams, who makes a cameo appearance as himself in the recent hit movie A Star is Born, has been nominated for a further three awards at the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards next week: Best Solo Artist, Best Alternative Artist, and Album of the Year for his 2018 release Make Way For Love. He is currently on tour and accepted the award in a video recording.

Jaime Robertson and Matthias Heiderich both received the Tui for Best Album Cover, recognising their work on Sola Rosa’s 2018 In Spaces EP.

Recorded Music New Zealand CEO Damian Vaughan (above) said it was a privilege to honour those in New Zealand’s music community who put in so much work behind the scenes.

“Their expertise and involvement in the creative and recording process of Kiwi musicians is invaluable and essential to crafting the New Zealand sound we all love – as well as fostering the next generation of Kiwi artists.”

The Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards will be broadcast live on Three on 15 November from 8.30pm.

Artisan Award Winners and Finalists:

Music Teacher of the Year:
Winner: Elizabeth Sneyd – Virtuoso Strings Charitable Trust, Porirua
Jane Egan – Gisborne Girls High School, Gisborne
Judith Bell – Chisnallwood Intermediate, Christchurch

Best Album Cover:
Winners: Jaime Robertson & Matthias Heiderich – In Spaces EP (Sola Rosa)
Barny Bewick – Seven (Cairo Knife Fight)
Tami Neilson, Ashley Church, Xoe Hall, Jules Koblun – Sassafrass! (Tami Neilson)

Best Engineer:
Winners: Jordan Stone & Simon Gooding – Out Of Silence (Neil Finn)
Chris Chetland – Rangatira (REI)
Simon Gooding, Tom Larkin, Scott Seabright, and Samuel Sproull –  (Alien Weaponry)

NZ On Air Best Music Video:
Winner: Marlon Williams – ‘Vampire Again’ (Marlon Williams)
Chris Graham – ‘Black Crow’ (Louis Baker)
Shae Sterling – ‘Bloodlines’ (The Adults ft Estère & JessB)

Best Producer:
Winners: Simon Gooding, Tom Larkin, Hammerhead – Tū (Alien Weaponry)
Estère – My Design, On Others’ Lives (Estère)
Neil and Liam Finn – Out Of Silence (Neil Finn)